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Responsible travel is trending

Now that our planet is getting warmer, sustainable travel has become very cool. From moving around to eating and sleeping, every aspect of a business trip or a holiday needs to be considered. The travel industry has clever solutions to the challenges it faces. The companies even offer new sustainable ideas for their customers to take home from their trip.

Published : 09.09.2020

The Clarion Hotels are part of The Nordic Choice Hotels group, which has defined an ambitious We Care sustainability programme for their 210 hotels. Their three main priorities are people, planet and profit – and in that order. Their sustainability programme takes these values in consideration.

– Over the last decade, our focus has been on reducing the environmental impact of our hotels and restaurants, and CO2 emissions in particular. We have put a lot of effort in increasing recycling and circular economy and working towards a zero waste policy. We have drastically reduced single-use plastics in our hotels and minimised food waste, says Harald Bjugstad-Holm, the Director of Sustainability of Nordic Choice Hotels.

– Furthermore, most of our hotels use renewable energy and they use it effectively. Next step is to see, what we can do to support biodiversity by for example using more organic food and wines in our restaurants.

The hotel group wants to make sustainability more attractive to their customers and give them new ideas they can also take with them into their everyday lives at home.

Concrete actions to reuse all waste

Päivi Roiko, who studied hospitality management at Haaga-Helia, is the Operations Manager of the Clarion Hotel Helsinki Airport. The hotel has taken concrete actions to increase recycling.

– We have gone through our whole waste management system. At the moment 100% of our waste is reused in some form. We plan our food deliveries carefully in order to minimise food waste and logistics emissions. We offer our guests a chance to separate their waste and donate unwanted goods to charities. The hotel also encourages the guests to make various ecofriendly choices during their stay, Roiko says.

The hotel also uses renewable energy wisely.

– When we look at energy consumption, we are lucky to have a modern, well-built hotel and a strict maintenance policy. For example, the water pressure and heating are set for the right level.

Roiko emphasises the value of her staff.

– We train our staff about our sustainability programme, and everyone will also attend an environmental course. I’m privileged to work with a worldclass crew who love what they do, Roiko says.

This spring, the Finnish airline company Finnair is going to launch its new sustainability programme, which includes several ways of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and waste. Finnair has three main priorities on their way to carbon neutrality. Firstly, they will reduce their own energy and fuel consumption. Secondly, they will increasingly use biofuels to power their flights. Thirdly, they give their clients a chance to reduce global emissions by offsetting the emissions of their flight.

Difeerent options to offset flight emissions

Finnair has worked steadily to reduce its relative carbon emissions by 17 % compared to 2013. Now they will raise their ambition level even higher.

– Reducing our emissions is our priority, and compensation only comes second. However, we want to invite our customers to offset the CO2 emissions of their flights or reduce them with biofuel, and they have quite actively taken this opportunity,” says Anne Larilahti, Finnair’s VP of Sustainability.

Finnair encourages their customers to offset the emissions of their flight by contributing to a program that reduces the removing of carbon sinks. You can also reduce the emissions of your flying by purchasing biofuel.

Huge investment in energy-efficient aircraft

Finnair’s fleet is one the most modern in Europe. However, they have communicated an investment to buy new aircraft that are approximately 15 % more energy-efficient than the current ones.

– This is a huge, up to four-billion-euro investment for us. But it is also the biggest single action to reduce our emissions, Larilahti says.

There are various actions Finnair undertakes to reduce the emissions of the current aircraft, too.

– For example, we try to get the weight of the plane as low as possible to reduce fuel consumption. Everything that comes into the plane is weighed, from seats to tableware. If every Finnair passenger had travelled with one kilogram less baggage in 2018, the fuel savings would cover 20 flights from Helsinki to Tokyo.

Solutions to tackle the waste problem

Plastic and food waste are the other major environmental issues airline companies are tackling.

– All our waste in Helsinki is sorted and recycled or burned for heat production. We encourage our customers to book their meals beforehand to reduce food waste and the weight of the meals on board. We donate excess food to charities.

Finnair does co-operation with the Nordic Electric Aviation and the LUT University in Finland to find solutions for the future of aviation.

– We are happy to share our expertise in order to help create alternatives for coal-based fuels. Today is the time to invest in tomorrow’s solutions, Larilahti says.